Canada’s Gabriel Resources under fire in Romania

Canada’s Gabriel Resources Ltd. (TSX:GBU) became the centre of attention this morning as an important figure of Romania’s 1989 revolution, MEP Laszlo Tokes, left his party on Monday over Rosia Montana, a debated gold mine project in north-western Romania.

The Vancouver Sun reports Tokes based his decision on his opposition to heap-leaching, a particular method of extracting gold that uses cyanide to leach the precious metal from mined material.

“As the initiator of a resolution from the European Parliament banning the use of cyanide in the mining industry, I cannot accept the attitude of my party towards the mining investment in Rosia Montana,” Tokes was quoted as saying in a press release.

Gabriel Resources shares felt the impact of the news this morning, as they were down almost 3% in the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Rosia Montana gold and silver project, one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in Europe, has been criticized by environmentalists, archaeologists and non-governmental organisations fighting corruption, but it has the support of Romanian president Traian Basescu.

Another controversial issue related to the project is the diversion of a river in the area, Minister of Environment and Forestry Laszlo Borbely told Agerpres last week.

Gabriel Resources, which it is awaiting an environment permit to start works at Rosia Montana, may need a new permit because current legislation is unclear, added Borbely.

According to the company’s website, Rosia Montana has reported resources of 14.6 million ounces of gold and 64.9 million ounces of silver (measured and indicated), including 10.1 million ounces gold and 47.6 million ounces of silver reserves (proven and probable at grades of 1.46 g/t and 6.88 g/t respectively).

Rosia Montana is a community of sixteen villages located in a district known as the Golden Quadrilateral, in the South Apuseni Mountains of Romania.

The area has been one of Europe’s most prolific mining districts for over 2000 years.
The Rosia Montana concession zone, which affects four of these villages, was subject to open pit mining by the state mining company, Minvest, until 2006. Following the closure of the mine with the loss of thousands of jobs, unemployment is reported to be 80% in the region.